Last Saturday evening's Concert at the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center was one of the best performances ever given by the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra. Maestro James Domine opened with the beautiful "Tales from the Vienna Woods" by Johann Strauss, Jr. This was followed by the "Oboe Concerto," composed and conducted by Charles Fernandez, who is also a bassoonist with the Orchestra. The renowned oboist, Francisco Castillo, enthralled the audience by performing this great Concerto in an incredible display of virtuosity, using the "circular breathing" technique which allows him to play very long passages of music seemingly without taking a breath. When the piece ended, the audience erupted with great applause, and cheered both the oboist and the composer. Maestro Domine then returned to the podium and conducted Beethoven's "Romance in G major, Op. 50." Concertmaster Ruth Bruegger gave a wonderful performance on the violin before an enraptured audience.
To conclude the first part of the program, Maestro Domine presented his own composition, the "Frankenstein Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra," in its inaugural performance, with Ruth Bruegger once again on the violin. This is an exciting, somewhat frightening piece of music, with a gorgeous theme that appears unexpectedly. It was played to perfection by Ms. Bruegger, and the audience loved it. They rose from their seats to applaud and cheer. The one word heard from many of the concertgoers in the audience and during intermission was, "WOW!!"
The second half of the program was the music of Georges Bizet; first his "Symphony in C major" and, to conclude the program, the famous "Carmen Suite #1." Both of these works were beautifully played by the Orchestra under the artful direction of the conductor. When the final notes rang out, the entire audience stood, applauded and cheered what was indeed a fantastic evening of music!